But refuse foolish and ignorant speculations, knowing that they produce quarrels. The Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will. (NASB)
Isn’t that wonderful wisdom and guidance? Look at the guidelines for our own hearts:
- refuse speculations: are we “speculating” or are we basing our reaction upon the facts? Are we reacting based upon gossip or have we found out the truth?
- don’t be quarrelsome: I think the fastest way to become quarrelsome is to not really listen to what the other person says.
- be kind: are you defensive or gentle?
- able to teach: we can only teach out of that which we’ve already learned.
- patient when wronged: are we more concerned about the other person’s relationship with God or correcting the misperceptions about ourselves?
- with gentleness: gentleness comes from the humility of “I’ve sinned also in so many ways, even if it’s not in this same area. Let me tell you how glorious being forgiven, cleansed, and empowered for holiness can be.”
- correcting: not condemning but offering a different holy way.
- God may grant them repentance: recognizing it must be God’s work in their life, not my wise words. And not in loyalty to me but in submission to God.
Yes, we are not supposed to judge but we are commanded to attempt to correct. “Oh Lord, give us wisdom with a humble heart to seek the best of others in your power. Amen.”